The films of Kivu Ruhorahoza

The Tribeca Film Festival ended last weekend. I didn’t get to see any films. (Late April, early May is a busy time where I teach). Anyway, a quick glance at the 2011 schedule shows only four films with African themes. Two “from South Africa,” one from Egypt (made by Americans and Europeans) and one by a Rwandese. It is the latter film, “Grey Matter,” by Kivu Ruhorahoza that I really want to see.  Tribeca hyped it as “… the first feature-length narrative film directed by a Rwandan filmmaker living in his homeland,” though Australia also gets credit for the film.  If you’re wondering if he sounds familiar, he used to go by Daddy Ruhorahoza. We’ve featured him here before. In the video above, Kivu talks about the film.  Different sources say the film and Ruhorahosa as a director is the real deal.  For example, right after seeing it, Alexis Okeowo tweeted that “Grey matter” was “… incredible, beautifully written, acted, and directed. best film i’ve seen this year.”   Last week the film won two awards for the festival: Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film (for lead Ramadhan “Shami” Bizimana) and a Special Jury Mention for Ruhorahoza. The jury wrote of Ruhorahoza’s direction: “… For its audacious and experimental approach, this film speaks of recent horrors and genocide with great originality. We wanted to give a special commendation to this filmmaker for his courage and vision.”  I promise to see it and report back.–Sean Jacobs.



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. I saw Grey Matter at Tribeca and I look forward to your comments after you watch it.

    The South African films were the usual technically proficient, but rather un-engaging fare. I'm sure that someday South African filmmakers will find their voice, but that hasn't happened yet.

      1. @Kris:

        Without a doubt there are many great filmmakers in the African continent and Ukadike does a good job discussing their work. However, on the question of South African filmmakers I stand by my contention that by and large they are technically proficient, impressively so in fact, but the films that have come out of SA are decidedly tepid.

        Do you have any examples of South African filmmakers whose work is particularly striking?

  2. I wonder if any of the Cultural Centres in Nairobi are going to show this. Sadly, for Kenyan and even African film, we have to wait for either the Alliance Francaise or the Goethe Institut to give the film some consideration before it can be shown.
    It sounds like a particularly beautiful film, can't wait to see it.

  3. @Kris Haamer and @ekapa:

    I agree with @ekapa's assessment to a point; films that, for me at least, break with that tepid reality are:
    "Shirley Adams" by Oliver Hermanus;
    "Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon" By Khalo Matabane; and
    "The Mother's House" by Francois Verster (actually a documentary feature); and his most recent film, "Sea Point Days".

Mailing List

Sign up for email updates!


Not the continent with 54 countries

©Africa is a Country, 2016